Second Grade Curriculum
Language arts curriculum encompasses skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Lessons focus on building skills in grammar, public speaking, spelling, creative writing, formal writing of paragraphs, poetry, research skills, and reading. Students will also work in groups to collaboratively discuss and create written material. Units include a study of author Kevin Henkes, tales from other countries, and poetry.
Students experience reading through a literature-based reading program, which allows them to read for enjoyment as well as for comprehension. Lessons focus on building comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and extended vocabulary. Students are offered a variety of material at their reading level to spark their interest. Whole group instruction is followed by small group work, partner work, and individual student practice.
Hands-on activities provide a variety of math experiences geared to reinforce mathematical concepts, build number sense, increase computation skills, and help students develop their problem-solving abilities. A variety of strategies are introduced in order to expose students to various ways to solve problems. Ongoing assessment helps gear math lessons and follow-up activities to meet student needs. Specific skills taught include operations of whole numbers up to 1000; emphasis on learning and applying addition and subtraction algorithms, and using part/whole relationships to model and solve multi-part word problems; fractions; geometry and data analysis.
Second-grade students conduct tests, gather evidence, and develop explanations for the phenomena they are investigating. They discover answers to questions such as: “How does land change and what are some things that cause it to change? How are materials similar and different from one another, and how do the properties of the materials relate to their use? What do plants need to grow?” Students design fair tests to conclude that plants need air and water to grow. They learn that plants depend on animals for seed dispersal and pollination and apply that to design and test hand pollinators. Second graders observe, classify, and analyze observable properties of different materials. Students experience how wind and water can change the shape of the land, and they compare design solutions to slow or prevent such change.
A common theme throughout second-grade social studies is community. The study of communities begins locally and then moved outward to develop global knowledge and understanding. Map skills and vocabulary in relation to family history is learned. Curriculum also focuses on the importance of individual actions and character, identifying heroes and leaders, and inventions as a way to highlight creative problem solving in the real world.
Students hone their technology skills in computer class. Skills learned at the second-grade level include manipulating window parameters, sending documents to print, interacting with applications using keyboard shortcuts, learning to navigate starts and shut down functions, and switching between multiple open applications. Students continue to build keyboard and mouse skills. Lessons in digital citizenship, ethics, and social responsibility reinforce positive and appropriate social behavior when using technology.
Library time helps bolster a love of books and reading. Students are encouraged to independently use the library media center by the end of the year. Library lessons introduce second graders to the online card catalog, as well as skills of recalling, summarizing, and utilizing simple research skills. Classes also bolster oral comprehension skills through stories being read and told. Students are encouraged to select books independently.
Led by the head of Lower School, Peaceful Partners in the second grade focuses on identifying personal actions and individual responsibilities that contribute to the well being of the community. Students will also establish communication guidelines that focus on “I” statements and active listening. And, the class will identify appropriate ways to handle uncomfortable situations through role-playing.
Students take an active role in performing arts through singing, acting, and creative movement. participation in xylophone and ensemble percussion, and the Orff Schulwerk approach. The music curriculum focuses on pattern recognition, dance and song. The exploration of theater focuses on physical and vocal expression to create characters, exploring emotions and feelings, and story-making skills including characterization, dialogue and story sequencing. A culmination of what is learned in performing arts is showcased in the 2nd Grade play, which features speaking parts for every student, solo and group singing as well as a full-scale production with costumes and sets.
An important component of performing arts curriculum is building a foundation for public speaking. To culminate the year of public speaking, students present for an all-school assembly about their community. Students also participate in Lower School Winter Sing and have the option to participate in Music Hour and Friday Assembly Spotlights.
Second-grade students learn best by repetitive activities and may become bothered by their mistakes. Feeling secure and being in a structured physical environment allows them to thrive. Students will continue to learn to apply developmental and fundamental motor skills appropriate for their age group. The class will practice and apply skill development, perceptual skills, and movement concepts to activities and games. Positive encouragement and support help maintain an atmosphere of active, consistent participation, as well as a willingness to try new tasks. Foundations for healthy lifestyle and good sportsmanship are fostered through curriculum.
Spanish aims to incorporate the five C’s—communication, cultures, connections, comparison, and communities. Meeting for two classes every cycle, the goal of second-grade Spanish is to continue the development of listening and speaking skills, enabling students to communicate their needs in greater detail. Students will begin to associate the spoken with the written word, and gradually, they will begin to read familiar material with comprehension. Working alongside core classroom curriculum, Spanish classes focus on topics including months of the year, the seven continents, immigrant stories, and fairy tales. Celebrations throughout the year to commemorate dates such as Mexican Independence Day and Day of the Dead will also take place.
Second-grade artists will be encouraged to explore their great ideas through various media and creative processes. Artists will work together to create and support a safe, cooperative, and engaging community space where all can thrive. Projects will continue to build fine motor skills, keen observation skills, problem- solving skills, critical thinking skills, and team building skills. Artists will continue their study of the elements of art and color theory. Students will be challenged to work with great craftsmanship, to consider the entire piece of art while creating, to add detail, and to add their personal voice to their work. Students will study and be inspired by famous artists and illustrators, as well as various world cultures, and will learn to use art vocabulary to share ideas about their work. Artists will also further explore their core classroom study of our local community in the studio while creating a collaborative piece to celebrate this key second-grade unit.
Each week, a student will be highlighted through the Star Student program. Prior to the student’s week, they will receive a poster board to create a personal display to go on the classroom bulletin board. The student will be celebrated throughout the week by being line leader, class messenger, and teacher helper. One day, the student may share something that has special meaning to them.
Mystery Readers are special guests who come to the second-grade classroom to read a story to students. Mystery Readers can be parents, grandparents, older siblings, other relatives, or close friends. The program allows anyone who wants to become involved in the classroom an easy way to do so. The memories will last forever, especially for the students!